Where and how is research generated, transmitted, received and used in today’s knowledge society? These are fundamental questions that will be addressed at a symposium hosted by the UNESCO Forum for Higher Education, Research and Knowledge in Paris from 16 to18 January (UNESCO, Room XI, 2.30 p.m.).
Some 100 experts in research policy and higher education, including national policy-makers, researchers, IGOs, NGOs and the private sector, from 30 countries will attend the meeting. They will discuss the findings of 52 surveys examining research systems in middle and low income countries*. These surveys highlight some flagrant contradictions that must be corrected if research is to trigger development. In Cameroon for example, much research is funded by foreign institutions and NGOs, but their presence hinders the development of a national research capability adapted to local needs. Another case in point is Sri Lanka, a country that generates skilled professionals in Science and Technology, but which is faced with numerous difficulties in providing the appropriate professional conditions to retain them.
The surveys were launched in April 2006 and have been coordinated by Johann Mouton from the Centre for Research on Science and Technology, University of Stellenbosch (CREST, South Africa) and Ronald Waast from the Institute for Research on Development, (IRD, France) in cooperation with some 30 research experts in Africa, the Arab States, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. They will present the project at the opening session of the symposium.
Gang Zhang from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Philippe Kuhutama Mawoko from the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) will speak of the analyses undertaken by their respective Organizations on research systems in science, technology, industry and health. Special attention will be paid to the role and potential of higher education institutions, notably universities, as research hubs and to the urgent need to strengthen higher education in developing countries.
The purpose of the symposium is to launch a template of indicators for countries to map their research and knowledge systems and better assess their priority needs. This should help countries which are reforming their knowledge systems to set benchmarks for their progress in building the strong research systems needed to support national development.
A special session led by the Global Forum for Health Research and the Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED) will focus on how national research systems contribute to information for health research, in particular in developing countries.
*17 African country studies: Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana , Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Namibia, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
- 11 Arab States studies: Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates
- 14 Latin America and Caribbean country studies: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela
- 10 Asian country studies: Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam
More info: UNESCO Forum on Higher Education, Research and Knowledge